I have been counting down the days to another long weekend. It seems that there are too few of them. I am planning to work on characters for my
current work in progress. Trying to get to the point where I can actually start writing when I have my week of vacation starting on the 9th.
When I write, I like to have a bit of an outline without filling in all the gaps. Not knowing everything seems to make the whole process more fun but I do need to have some direction. Developing characters is one way I work on developing my story. It’s more than deciding what they look like. It’s about discovering who they are and what they would do. Creating a past that will help determine the character’s present and future. It’s like meeting someone new and sitting down for a chat but this character isn’t afraid to tell me everything. The more I know, the more I can predict how this character would react if dropped into different situations. Someone who has a fear of the dark is not going to wander off into the woods alone at night unless they have no other choice. If the reader is aware of the character’s fear it makes them want to stay with the story to find out what happens.
It’s easy to make the protagonist too much like yourself. You know what you would do in a given situation but the character is not you so you have to create someone who would react differently than you would as the writer. You have to decide what the character wants most, what they are most afraid of, what their goals are, and what motivates them. Do they have flaws and what are they? What is their background? Where do they come from? What have they done? What has happened to them to make them into the person they are now?
Because your story has to have more than one person you have to populate your book with several characters. Some are major characters, some minor, and some who just walk-on to the story. It is also easy to create a flawless character. Everyone has flaws.
No one likes a perfect person, they’re not interesting. To shake it up a little, even your good guy has to have some faults. The same can be said for
the antagonist, he can’t be all evil. He has to have something good about him; otherwise you end up working with paper doll characters. They need a little more depth. By creating fully developed characters you make them three dimensional. You make them people want to read about and spend some time with.
I always turn to books as references while writing. The books I am using currently to develop my characters are ‘Plot versus Character’
by Jeff Gerke and ’45 Master Characters – Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters’ by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I plan to write a review about my reference books at another time so won’t go into detail for now. Besides the weekend is wasting away as I blog so need to get back to my project.
Currently I am reading ‘A Murder is Announced’ by Agatha Christy. It is a book my Sister’s in Crime group is reading to discuss at our July Meeting. Now that I am further into the book, I am enjoying immersing myself into that time period. If you haven’t read Agatha’s novels, it’s never
too late to start. Would love to hear about your writing process, I am truly interested in that aspect of writing. How do you create your characters? Do you use detailed information or do you just have them fully developed in your head? What are you reading right now? Feel free to comment and share. There is nothing better than visiting with writers and readers.
Hope you all have a happy and safe 4th. Spend some of it outside away from your computer. As writers you can’t expect to write about life unless you experience some of it.